New Partners Takes the “Parklet” Indoors!


Minneapolis installation during 2008 Park(ing) Dayimage:
Minneapolis installation during 2008 Park(ing) Day

New Partners for Smart Growth
Kansas City, February 7-9, 2013

This year, the New Partners Conference makes its way to America’s heartland—Kansas City, Missouri.  In addition to the 90 sessions and close to 400 speakers, there are a number of special features: optional workshops, networking activities, and special events. The following may be of interest to many of our PPN members:

In recent years, a number of communities have begun experimenting with “parklets” – temporarily turning the asphalt of parking spaces into small, on-the-street spots of greenery and seating – to enliven the streetscape experience and provide more outdoor seating for restaurants and cafes. The New Partners conference will showcase five parklet model experiences inside the Kansas City Convention Center, to demonstrate for participants what a parklet is, and how it can transform a couple of under-utilized parking spaces into exciting opportunities for creating more vibrant (parking) spaces in your community.

Nature Bullies

Father and son explore their local natural spaceimage:
Father and son explore their local natural space

The following commentary, whether you agree with it or not, brings up a great challenge for Landscape Architects. How can we design spaces that promote interaction with the natural world without harming it? We know how to design trails, signage, rest areas, but how do we design to allow for the creative, open ended exploration by children in nature.  We need to find the balance between conservation and discovery.  The Children and Nature Movement is much more than teaching children how to identity birds and trees, it is about creating a profound connection to the natural world.

NATURE BULLIES: A conservation biologist’s perspective on children in nature


Ron Swaisgood, author of the aforementioned commentary, is a conservation biologist and ecologist. He and his wife Janice Swaisgood (along with their two boys) co-founded the Family Adventures in Nature (FAN) Club in San Diego and it has since spread internationally.  For more information visit their website.

Outdoor Gyms

Fitness Zone™: Belvedere Park, Los Angelesimage: Trust for Public Land
Fitness Zone™: Belvedere Park, Los Angeles
image: Trust for Public Land

Over the years our municipality has taken out outdoor fitness courses or seen them severely underutilized. Could it be because of our weather here in Colorado? Perhaps, but maybe this new effort to design attractive and unique fitness solutions specific to outdoor parks will reopen opportunities to provide this sort of service in our parks. I am particularly intrigued by the City Art Gym information posted in this article.

‘Fitness parks’ catch on in cities
by Haya El Nasser, USA TODAY, December 14, 2012

City Art Gym

HORIZONS: On the move with Fitness Zones
Trust for Public Lands, February 12, 2012

ASLA Call for Presentations: 2013 Annual Meeting and EXPO

ASLA Call for Presentations: 2013 Annual Meeting and EXPO
ASLA Call for Presentations: 2013 Annual Meeting and EXPO

ASLA is now accepting proposals for education sessions for the 2013 Annual Meeting and EXPO, November 15-18, in Boston. If you are interested in presenting and sharing your knowledge with the landscape architecture profession, we encourage you to submit a proposal through our online system.

Click here for detailed information on submitting education program proposals. The deadline for submissions is February 6, 2013.


Greenbuild 2013 Call for Proposals & Reviewers

Greenbuild International Conference & ExpoNovember 20-22, 2013, Philadelphia, PA
Greenbuild International Conference & Expo
November 20-22, 2013, Philadelphia, PA

USGBC is currently accepting proposals from industry experts eager to share their knowledge and expertise with audiences at Greenbuild. This is your chance to shape the content of education sessions!

Submit a proposal or learn more about the process. The deadline for submittals is Friday, Jan. 11 at 4:59 pm ET.

USGBC is also seeking peer reviewers to evaluate session proposals. Reviewers are eligible to present at Greenbuild and receive $100 discount off a Greenbuild full conference registration. Learn more about volunteering as a reviewer.

Free Urban Design Resources from ‘Across the Pond’

TOD Station Concept, Aberdeen, MDimage: Parsons Brinckerhoff
TOD Station Concept, Aberdeen, MD
image: Parsons Brinckerhoff

Thank You, Prince Charles!

Landscape architects tend to be excellent generalists, but how well are we trained in the specialized art and science of “urban design”?  A decade ago, a change in employment inspired me to strengthen my urban design knowledge, and in the process, discover a wonderful resource from the United Kingdom (UK).

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Vilma Pérez Blanco: A Pioneer in Puerto Rico’s Landscape

Punto Verde, Puerto Ricoimage: Olga Angueira
Punto Verde,  San Juan, Puerto Rico
image: Vilma Pérez Blanco

I met Vilma Pérez Blanco in 2004 when I returned home to Puerto Rico from the Harvard University’s Graduate School of Design after completing a Master in Landscape Architecture.  Vilma was one of the first landscape architects I contacted while searching for jobs in Puerto Rico.  She could not offer me a job at the time, but instead, she offered me her guidance, advice, and friendship, which have been way more valuable than any job.  Her strong will and character, her energy and enthusiasm for each project she has worked on for the last 54 years have inspired many of her colleagues and young professionals.  Through friendly conversations on her rooftop terrace and more formal interviews for local newspapers, I learned about her passion for design and her commitment to improve the public spaces in Puerto Rico.  She has been a key person in the development and recognition of landscape architecture in Puerto Rico.  Her design work includes a wide range of projects in scale, types, and clientele, while her active role in public and private organizations has created a positive impact on the role of the landscape architect in society.

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